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What about private sector unions? As the U.S. moves close to becoming a country where the majority of states prohibit mandatory union membership and dues – making each a so-called “right to work” state – questions persist as to whether Gov. Scott Walker, who vastly weakened public employee unions in the state, could do the same in […]

What about private sector unions?

As the U.S. moves close to becoming a country where the majority of states prohibit mandatory union membership and dues making each a so-called “right to work” state questions persist as to whether Gov. Scott Walker, who vastly weakened public employee unions in the state, could do the same in the private sector. During the 2010 campaign, he rejected the idea, but as his skills in political speech have deepened, he’s grown more ambiguous. During a recall debate, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett accused Walker of having nowhere to go on the issue: He couldn’t veto a right to work bill, if passed by the legislature, for fear of losing standing nationally, but neither was he willing to include such a plank in his agenda.

Walker’s still gripping the fence tightly. The Associated Press reports that Walker has again denied any interest in right to work, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, another key player, has continued to throw cold water on the prospect. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are now 24 right to work states (plus Guam, a U.S. territory). These have traditionally been southern states, but Indiana and Michigan joined ranks with laws passed in 2012.

Getting behind right to work now would upend the course of the current campaign, or whatever legislative agenda the governor might pursue in 2015, and could elicit protests reminiscent of those in 2011.

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